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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Alexander

Most portraits of Alexander, of which there are many, were produced long after his death, particularly the more youthful-looking ones like this one. He has long, god-like hair and an upward gaze, resembling his description in literary sources.

Alexander was always shown clean-shaven, which was an innovation; all previous portraits of Greek statesmen and rulers had beards. This royal fashion lasted until the Roman emperor Hadrian, almost five hundred years later.

This portrait is thought to be from Alexandria in Egypt, the city founded by Alexander in 331 BCE, and the location of his tomb.

Number: 
507
Material: 
Marble
Location of Original: 

London, British Museum 1857

Size: 
0.37m
Accession: 

Donation by Waldstein, who got it from Brucciani, May 28 1881 to the Fitzwilliam Museum. Transferred to the Museum in 1884

References: 

Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 328 (n.1)
Smith: Catalogue of British Museum Sculpture III (1904), 142, pl. XIII
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 88, no.470

Date: 
C2 or 1 BCE
Provenance: 

From Alexandria. Purchased by the British Museum in 1872

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Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge

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